Plovdiv, Sofia, Tarnovo, Varna Shortlisted for Europe Culture Capital
The selection panel has shortlisted 4 Bulgarian cities - Plovdiv, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo and Varna - to continue the competition for European Capital of Culture 2019.
During 2019, Bulgaria and Italy will co-host the European Culture Capital, with the Italian candidates already shortlisted in November: Cagliari, Lecce, Matera, Perugia, Ravenna and Siena.
Italy's candidates who made it to the second round are not major Italian cities, which is not the case for the Bulgarian counterparts: Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria, Plovdiv and Varna - the second and third largest, while Veliko Tarnovo is a regional center (and late medieval capital).
Bulgaria invited applications from interested cities at the end of 2012, with a total of 8 cities applying: Burgas, Gabrovo, Ruse, Shumen, in addition to the ones shortlisted.
"I am very pleased to see that eight Bulgarian cities took part in the competition to be the first European Capital of Culture in Bulgaria. I warmly congratulate the four cities which have been nominated following the first round of the competition," stated Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education and Culture.
"Just being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, provided that their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy," added she.
Once the panel's recommendation has been confirmed by Bulgaria, the cities have until next summer to complete their applications. The selection panel will meet again in the third quarter of 2014 to recommend which city which will be the European Capital of Culture.
The applications were examined by a panel composed of 13 independent cultural experts - six appointed by Bulgaria and seven by the European Union institutions.
Following Marseille (France) and Košice (Slovakia) this year, Umeå (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia) will be European Capitals of Culture in 2014, Mons (Belgium) and Plzen (Czech Republic) in 2015, Wrocław (Poland) and Donastia-San Sebastián (Spain) in 2016, Aarhus (Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) in 2017 and Valletta (Malta) in 2018. Leeuwarden (Netherlands) has been proposed as European Capital of Culture in 2018.
Dear Joppy, my intention was not to be derogatory toward Bulgaria, I live here and have the greatest respect for this country and it's people. I am only giving my opinion this story.
As with every other country in the World there are good and bad elements. Bulgaria has such a lot to offer culturally, but in my opinion they are not to be found in any of the above mentioned cities.
That's just it, the fact it is unknown (outside Europe), If I travel abroad and I tell people where I am from I won't be the victim of stereotypes since nobody knows where it is. I never claimed it to be loved by Africa, South America or Asia but however, again since nobody knows where it is, it is not hated, it didn't oppress, exploit and commit genocide against anyone. I know this from experience, when I lived in South Africa for a few years I could tell that the Black African and Indian community respected me much more than they respected the white South Africans of Western European descent. I don't maybe they could tell I am "not proper white" as some of them put it. Others from Ethiopia, Eritrea actually knew where Bulgaria was (maybe it's the common Orthodox faith) and they told me it was much more loved than Western Europe and that they did not put it in the same "white colonizer and oppressor" category, same with certain Indians.
I agree with Jetbuster, although his intention most probably is to make derogatory comments towards Bulgaria. We are not like Western Europe, we have a different mentality, different culture and we should not try to link ourselves with them, especially when Western Europe is not exactly respected, more like hated in the majority of the world (Africa, South America, Asia).
Let's see: we've got a city that has the largest gypsy population in the world, another one that is populated by trashy retiree brits and has a shitty old fortress everyone could care less about, another city that rivals Novosibirsk in terms of communist blocks and has nothing but a polluted beach and then there's the capital....a city that is so ugly that even Mongolian bureaucrats joke that if you misbehave they'll send you the embassy in Sofia.
Tough choices huh?